Cervical Cancer Prevention Week is taking place this week from January 20 to January 26 2020. Cervical cancer is largely preventable and the aim of this week’s education programme is to reduce the risks of contracting the disease by raising awareness of how it can be prevented through cervical screening, by electing to have the HPV vaccination where appropriate, through recognising the symptoms of cervical cancer and knowing where to find support and information.
Each year around 300 women in Ireland will be diagnosed with cervical cancer. Most cervical cancers are caused by the very common human papillomavirus (HPV) virus. The HPV vaccine is available to protect you from many HPV types. Cervical screening tests can also detect abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix before any symptoms have developed and when the disease is more easily treated.
The HSE has offered the HPV vaccine to girls free of charge during their first year of secondary school since 2010. The free vaccine has also been offered to boys since September 2019. Ireland’s national cervical screening programme is called CervicalCheck and is available to all women aged 25 to 60 who live in Ireland. It is estimated that 75% of cervical cancer is preventable by regular screening. As it is a screening test which is not 100% accurate, it is important for you to recognise and report any symptoms which you may have to your GP, such as unusual vaginal bleeding, even if you have had a recent reassuring screening test.
If you are diagnosed with cervical cancer or any other form of cancer which you consider was missed or unrecognised when you had attended an earlier medical assessment or screening test, it is important that you contact a specialist medical negligence solicitor for legal advice and assistance.